nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2021‒03‒01
eight papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Pre-Electoral Coalitions: Insights into the Creation of Political Parties By Rafael Hortala-Vallve; Jaakko Meriläinen; Janne Tukiaianen
  2. New Characterizations of Strategy-Proofness under Single-Peakedness By Andrew Jennings; Rida Laraki; Clemens Puppe; Estelle Varloot
  3. The Political Economics of Non-democracy By Georgy Egorov; Konstantin Sonin
  4. In-group versus Out-group Preferences in Intergroup Conflict: An Experiment By Subhasish M. Chowdhury; Anwesha Mukherjee; Roman M. Sheremeta
  5. Institutional Change and Institutional Persistence By Daron Acemoglu; Georgy Egorov; Konstantin Sonin
  6. Dynamically rational judgmentaggregation By Franz Dietrich; Christian List
  7. Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Social Choice: The Impact of Deliberation in the context of two different Aggregation Rules By Mariam Maki Sy; Charles C. Figuières; Helene Rey-Valette; Richard B Howarth
  8. Unmasking Partisanship: Polarization Undermines Public Response to Collective Risk By Maria Milosh; Marcus Painter; Konstantin Sonin; David Van Dijcke; Austin L. Wright

  1. By: Rafael Hortala-Vallve (Department of Government, London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, United Kingdom.); Jaakko Meriläinen (Center for Economic Research and Department of Economics, ITAM, Av. Camino Santa Teresa 930, Col. Héroes de Padierna, Del. Magdalena Contreras, C.P. 10700 México, D.F., Mexico); Janne Tukiaianen (Department of Economics, Turku School of Economics, Rehtorinpellonkatu 3, FI-20014 University of Turku, Finland; VATT Institute for Economic Research, Arkadiankatu 7, FI-00101, Helsinki, Finland)
    Abstract: We evaluate the causes and consequences of pre-electoral coalitions (PECs). In Finland, local elections use a proportional representation system with open lists, and parties may form joint lists. We document that PECs are more common between parties of equal size and similar ideology, and when elections are more disproportional or involve more parties. Using both difference-in-differences and density discontinuity designs we document that voters punish coalescing parties, especially if they are ideologically diverse, and also respond to PECs by targeting personal votes strategically within the PECs. Moreover, small parties become more likely to acquire political leadership positions. Finally, PECs seem to be formed also with the particular purpose of influencing the overall distribution of political power: they lead to more dispersed seat distributions and prevent absolute majorities in close elections. Thus, voter ideology and electoral rules create natural boundaries for the parties, but the party formateurs also consider wider impacts.
    Keywords: bargaining power, local elections, multi - party systems, open - list PR system, pre - electoral coalitions, strategic voting
    JEL: C23 D23 D72
    Date: 2021–02
  2. By: Andrew Jennings; Rida Laraki; Clemens Puppe; Estelle Varloot
    Abstract: We provide novel simple representations of strategy-proof voting rules when voters have uni-dimensional single-peaked preferences (as well as multi-dimensional separable preferences). The analysis recovers, links and unifies existing results in the literature such as Moulin's classic characterization in terms of phantom voters and Barber\`a, Gul and Stacchetti's in terms of winning coalitions ("generalized median voter schemes"). First, we compare the computational properties of the various representations and show that the grading curve representation is superior in terms of computational complexity. Moreover, the new approach allows us to obtain new characterizations when strategy-proofness is combined with other desirable properties such as anonymity, responsiveness, ordinality, participation, consistency, or proportionality. In the anonymous case, two methods are single out: the -- well know -- ordinal median and the -- most recent -- linear median.
    Date: 2021–02
  3. By: Georgy Egorov (Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management); Konstantin Sonin (University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy)
    Abstract: We survey recent theoretical and empirical literature on political economy of non-democracies. Dictators face many challenges to their rule: internal, such as palace coups or breakdown of their support coalition, or external, such as mass protests or revolutions. We analyze strategic decisions made by dictators — hiring political loyalists to positions that require competence, restricting media freedom at the cost of sacrificing bureaucratic efficiency, running a propaganda campaign, organizing electoral fraud, purging associates and opponents, and repressing citizens — as driven by the desire to maximize the regime’s chances of staying in power. We argue that the key to understanding the functioning and ultimately the fate of a nondemocratic regime is the information flows within the regime, and the institutions that govern these information flows.
    Keywords: Nondemocratic politics, authoritarianism, dictatorship, bureaucracy, electoral fraud, protests, revolutions, coup d’etat, media freedom, propaganda, censorship, repressions, institutionalized ruling party
    JEL: P16 D74 D72 D82 C73 D83
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Subhasish M. Chowdhury (School of Economics, University of Bath); Anwesha Mukherjee (School of Management, Technische Universitat München); Roman M. Sheremeta (Weatherhead School of Management, Case western Reserve University and Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)
    Abstract: Individuals participating in a group conflict have different preferences, e.g., maximizing their own payoff, maximizing the group’s payoff, or defeating the rivals. When such preferences are present simultaneously, it is difficult to distinctly identify the impact of those preferences on conflict. In order to separate in-group and out-group preferences, we conduct an experiment in which human in-group or out-group players are removed while keeping the game strategically similar. Our design allows us to study (i) how effort in a group conflict vary due to in-group and out-group preferences, and (ii) how the impact of these preferences vary when the two groups have explicitly different social identities. The results of our experiment show that the presence of in-groups enhances concern about individual payoffs. A further presence of outgroups moderates the concern for individual payoffs through an additional concern for own group payoffs. The negative effect of the in-group preferences and the positive effect of the out-group preferences are weaker when group members have a common social identity.
    Keywords: Group conflict; Contest; Identity; Social preferences
    JEL: C91 C92 D74 D91
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Daron Acemoglu (Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Department of Economics; CEPR; NBER); Georgy Egorov (Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management; NBER); Konstantin Sonin (University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy; Higher School of Economics; CEPR)
    Abstract: In this essay, we provide a simple conceptual framework to elucidate the forces that lead to institutional persistence and change. Our framework is based on a dynamic game between different groups, who care both about current policies and institutions and future policies, which are themselves determined by current institutional choices, and clarifies the forces that lead to the most extreme form of institutional persistence (“institutional stasis†) and the potential drivers of institutional change. We further study the strategic stability of institutions, which arises when institutions persist because of fear of subsequent, less beneficial changes that would follow initial reforms. More importantly, we emphasize that, despite the popularity of ideas based on institutional stasis in the economics and political science literatures, most institutions are in a constant state of flux, but their trajectory may still be shaped by past institutional choices, thus exhibiting “path-dependent change†, so that initial conditions determine both the subsequent trajectories of institutions and how they respond to shocks. We conclude the essay by discussing how institutions can be designed to bolster stability, the relationship between social mobility and institutions, and the interplay between culture and institutions.
    Keywords: Conflict, constitutions, democracy, institutions, institutional change, persistence, stability
    JEL: P16 D72 D74 C73 N10 N40
    Date: 2020
  6. By: Franz Dietrich (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne, Paris School of Economics); Christian List (Ludwig-Maximilians Universität)
    Abstract: Judgment-aggregation theory has always focused on the attainment of rational collective judgments. But so far, rationality has been understood in static terms: as "coherence" of judgments at a given time, understood as consistency, completeness, and/or deductive closure. By contrast, this paper discusses whether collective judgments can be dynamically rational, so that they change rationally in response to new information. Formally, a judgment aggregation rule is dynamically rational with respect to a given revision operator if, whenever all individuals revise their judgments in light of some information (a learnt proposition), then the new aggregate judgments are the old ones revised in light of this information, i.e., aggregation and revision commute. We prove a general impossibility theorem: if the propositions on the agenda are sufficiently interconnected, no judgment aggregation rule with standard properties is dynamically rational with respect to any revision operator satisfying some mild conditions (familiar from belief revision theory). Our theorem is the dynamic-rationality analogue of some well-known impossibility theorems for static rationality. We also exolore how dynamic rationality might be achieved by relaxing some of the conditions on the aggregation rule and/or the revision operator
    Keywords: judgment aggregation; belief revision; static vs. dynamic rationality; premise-based rule
    JEL: D70 D71
    Date: 2021–02
  7. By: Mariam Maki Sy (MARBEC (Université de Montpellier, IRD, Ifremer, CNRS), Montpellier, France.); Charles C. Figuières (Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, AMSE, Marseille, France); Helene Rey-Valette (Université de Montpellier, Centre d’Economie de l’Environnement – Montpellier (CEE – M) (Université de Montpellier, CNRS, INRAE, Institut Agro), France.); Richard B Howarth (Environmental Program, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA)
    Abstract: This paper describes an empiric study of aggregation and deliberation used during citizens' workshops for the preference elicitation of 20 different ecosystem services (ESs) delivered by the Palavas coastal lagoons located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea close to Montpellier (S. France). The impact of deliberation for the preference elicitation of 20 different ecosystem services (ESs) was studied by gathering and aggregating individual preferences before deliberation that were compared to the collective aggregation after deliberation. The same aggregation rules were used before and after deliberation and we compared two different aggregation methods, i.e. Rapid Ecosystem Services Participatory Appraisal (RESPA) and Majority Judgement (MJ). RESPA had been specifically tested for ESs, while MJ evaluates the merit of each item, an ES in our case, in a predefined ordinal scale of judgment. The impact of deliberation was strongest for the RESPA method. This new information acquired from application of social choice theory is particularly useful for ecological economics studying ES, and more practically for the development of deliberative approaches for public policies.
    Keywords: ecosystem services, preference elicitation, non-monetary methods, deliberation, social choice theory, coastal lagoons
    JEL: D71 Q57
    Date: 2021–02
  8. By: Maria Milosh (University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy); Marcus Painter (Saint Louis University - Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business); Konstantin Sonin (University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy; CEPR); David Van Dijcke (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor - Department of Economics); Austin L. Wright (University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy)
    Abstract: Political polarization may undermine public policy response to collective risk, especially in periods of crisis, when political actors have incentives to manipulate public perceptions. We study these dynamics in the United States, focusing on how partisanship has influenced the use of face masks to stem the spread of COVID-19. Using a wealth of micro-level data, machine learning approaches, and a novel quasi-experimental design, we establish the following: (1) mask use is robustly correlated with partisanship; (2) the impact of partisanship on mask use is not offset by local policy interventions; (3) partisanship is the single most important predictor of local mask use, not COVID-19 severity or local policies; (4) president Trump’s unexpected mask use at Walter Reed on July 11, 2020 and endorsement of masks on July 20, 2020 significantly increased social media engagement with and positive sentiment towards mask-related topics. These results unmask how partisanship undermines effective public responses to collective risk and how messaging by political agents can increase public engagement with policy measures.
    Keywords: Partisanship, polarization, COVID-19
    JEL: H12 I18
    Date: 2020

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